Possible shark attack closes part of Sandy Beach
By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
Lifeguards closed off over a mile of shoreline at Sandy Beach yesterday after a bodyboarder reported being injured by what he thought was a small shark.
The incident occurred near the popular body boarding areas known as Half Point and Full Point, off Sandy Beach. The bodyboarder was not seriously injured.
Shark attacks are considered rare in that area.
Capt. Edmund Pestana of the City and County Ocean Safety Division said lifeguards will patrol the area by Jet Ski this morning and determine whether the beach should be reopened.
Mike Mendez, 27, of Salt Lake, said he was paddling out toward Full Point when something hit the bottom of his board.
"I thought it was one of my friends, playing around," he said.
He said he felt three tugs on his board, then noticed that a piece of board was floating in the water, and that his hand was bleeding.
He said he caught only a glimpse of the underside of the animal, which he said looked like it might have been a 3-foot shark. He then paddled in and reported the incident to lifeguards.
Pestana said lifeguards administered first aid for three 1-inch cuts to Mendez's hand. Mendez later went to an emergency room for treatment.
John Naughton, a shark expert with the National Marine Fisheries Service, said he planned to contact Mendez and examine the board to see whether he can determine by the teeth marks what sort of animal might have attacked Mendez.
"It sounds like if it was a shark, it was a little ankle nipper," Naughton said last night. "It would be very unusual to have a shark that size attack a human."
Shark attacks reported on O'ahu typically occur on the Leeward or North Shores, Naughton said.